The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The world of cinema is constantly changing and growing to better suit our evolving society. That includes creating more diverse characters with various ethnic backgrounds, different sexual identities, religions, and more. There have been more mysteries, dramas, and horror dynasties that have been created to incorporate these changes. Most would agree that it has been a great change of pace for both the streaming and theater industry. However, it has to be noted that one genre has not been as willing to change as the others, and that would be the world of fantasy.
A lot of the fantasy films or shows that have been created in the past decade have been based off of books that have centered around white characters. An example would be the Harry Potter series, whose main cast is mostly white. Now, there is no judgement to the cast as this franchise was particularly entertaining to both the fandom and critics, but the lack of diversity is evident . The only noticeable characters of colour were Cho Chang and Dean Thomas. Unfortunately, both characters had very minimal screen time and barely any influence on the main plot. Obviously, this was not a reflection of the author and director’s personal views, but there is always an opportunity to change or add something to a character, like a change in cultural background, which can further represent more audiences and entertain more people in turn.
“We would like to see as many people represented in fantasy as exists.”
Earlier this week, Whoopi Goldberg discussed the fantasy realm and its representation issues on her talk show, The View. Recently, there have been several protests that came about after black hobbits were shown in the new show House of the Dragon, which is based on the Lord of the Rings franchise. People seemed to have an issue with this new form of diversity because the show/book didn’t really discuss multi-racial characters. Whoopi rightfully called out fans for gate-keeping the franchise by not allowing other ethnicities to be a part of this mythical and fantastical world. She mentioned that being that these fantasy realms are not real, there is nothing that says multi-racial people cannot exist in those realms. She even stated, “We would like to see as many people represented in fantasy as exists. So all of y’all who have problems because there are Black Hobbits, get a job. Get a job. Go find yourself, because you are focused on the wrong stuff”.
As a big fan of mythical worlds myself, it has been difficult to enjoy these shows when I don’t see members of the black community or other minorities being properly represented. It is almost as if these fantastical or supernatural worlds only apply to a certain group of people and all others are not allowed to partake in such entertainment. The only way to really fix this issue is for more fantasy realms to show more minorities and people of colour in their films so that all audiences feel like they have a place. There is no reason why a black fairy can’t coexist with a white goblin in a world that exists only in people’s imaginations.
“There is no reason why a black fairy can’t coexist with a white goblin in a world that exists only in people’s imaginations.”